Cirrhosis: statins reduce risk of premature death by 43%

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Findings from a new analysis suggest an association between regular use of statins and reduced mortality in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.

For the research, published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, scientists examined data on 744 matched patients from the Danish National Patient Registry.

They found use of statins was associated with a reduced risk of decompensation and death in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Mortality rates were 88 per 1,000 years for patients using statin and 127 per 1,000 years for non-statin patients, translating to a hazard ratio of 0.57.

The authors said no convincing dose-response association was found but patients with a more constant exposure to statins may benefit more from the treatment. They cautioned however that the results need to be verified in controlled clinical trials before statins can be recommended for patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.

The results add to previous studies indicating that statins might help patients with chronic liver disease. “Our finding supports the hypothesis that statins may ameliorate the course of cirrhosis and decrease the rate of fibrosis," said Dr. Ulrich Bang, lead author of the study. "The results are promising and we are looking forward to seeing whether prospective trials can verify the finding."